I’ll Leave You With This

This has been my inspiration throughout. You can watch and listen here.

I have no idea what the movie’s about.

The Cave, Mumford & Sons

 

It’s empty in the valley of your heart

The sun, it rises slowly as you walk

Away from all the fears

And all the faults you’ve left behind

The harvest left no food for you to eat

You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see

But I have seen the same

I know the shame in your defeat

But I will hold on hope

And I won’t let you choke

On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain

And I will change my ways

I’ll know my name as it’s called again

Cause I have other things to fill my time

You take what is yours and I’ll take mine

Now let me at the truth

Which will refresh my broken mind

So tie me to a post and block my ears

I can see widows and orphans through my tears

I know my call despite my faults

And despite my growing fears

But I will hold on hope

And I won’t let you choke

On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain

And I will change my ways

I’ll know my name as it’s called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands

And see the world hanging upside down

You can understand dependence

When you know the maker’s hand

So make your siren’s call

And sing all you want

I will not hear what you have to say

Cause I need freedom now

And I need to know how

To live my life as it’s meant to be

And I will hold on hope

And I won’t let you choke

On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain

And I will change my ways

I’ll know my name as it’s called again

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I Did It Bitches!

Hell to the freakin’ yah! Day 40 has officially arrived and I made it. I don’t even know what to say except THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for the constant encouragement and insight. It has truly meant the world to me. I feel great!

Here are the final stats:
Day 1 Day 20 Day 40
Age 32 32 32
Height 5′ 6″ 5′ 6″ 5′ 6″
Weight 140 lbs 126 lbs 119 lbs
Body fat percentage 24.30% 22.30% 19.50%
Body water percentage 55.20% 56.70% 58.70%
Bust 35 1/2″ 34″ 32″
Waist 28″ 26″ 23″
Hips 39″ 36″ 34″
Thigh 21 1/2″ 20″ 19″
Calf 15″ 14″ 14″
Bicep 11″ 10″ 10″
Wrist 5 1/2″ 5 1/2″ 5 1/2″

And for all those wondering, Mexican. My first full meal back will undoubtedly be Mexican. Beans, rice, cheese quesadillas and chips with guacamole are the only foods I’ve craved this entire time.

Oh! And the dude came back to the cart today. He acted like everything was normal so I said “Hey, can I ask you a question? Did you get the note I passed you?” He said yes but he had a girlfriend so he figured he should ignore it. He said sorry and I said “No worries at all. That’s great and it’s better for me to know.” He was even kind enough to say he would have loved to but…

Straightforward. Honest. Nice. Just the way I like it. Hooray for closure! I love today.

Here’s What’s Happened

It took me many years to slow down my drinking. I don’t mean to put myself out there as an insane partier or a severe alcoholic; I was never either of those things. But when I drank I drank a lot and a fun party inevitably turned into a disastrous downward spiral to the most negative angry depths of my psyche.

There was a lot of space between me realizing something was amiss and getting to the point where I could control my urges and co-exist with friends and a partner who happily drank the nights away on a regular basis. The list of barriers I had to overcome was long, but I did it one by one (checklist!) and eventually my life began to turn around.

The result of the turning got me out of a city I hated, a job that made me insane and a relationship that was never going to help me down the road to peace and happiness. All good things. Add to that a road trip cross country and setting up a new deal in Portland and it really worked out for the best.

I had to face a ton of inner demons as I came to admit I was behaving poorly. I also had to learn how to forgive myself and really move on.

What’s happened to me in these forty days is I’ve applied all the lessons I learned about how to handle alcohol and get myself out of situations that make me unhappy to my emotional and physical well being. I’ve solidified my ability to take a positive approach to the other aspects of my life, the ones that find me eating Cheez-Its and Snapple for dinner four times a week, living in a body I’m uncomfortable in, forcing myself to exercise and eat in ways that ignore what my body really needs and wants, trying to fit myself into a label that defines someone else entirely, continuing down a path of struggle, frustration and guilt.

In the end this has taught me how to apply all the lessons to my egoic inner chatter and general daily mood. This is huge!

Eckhart Tolle is so right on when he says our purpose is to give 100% of our attention to each moment as we live it. Only in the moment can we make the right decision with awareness and peace. Only in quiet can we give our attention to what is actually happening as opposed to what we think or want to happen. You can’t just wake up one day and say I’m not going to drink anymore. I tried. It doesn’t work. You have to face those moments individually as they come. That goes for everything in life, all the worries and fears – I understand that now.

When I’m bowling with my friends and I want to have a beer, my purpose is to concentrate on why I actually don’t want to have a beer and instead just have fun bowling. When my dog is diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease, my purpose is to shut off the money worry voice, stop crying and nurse him when he can’t keep the medicine down. When I’m fasting and crave food, my purpose is to shut up and drink more lemonade. When my business is struggling and I can’t make ends meet, it’s my purpose to come up with new ideas, experiment with soup and gracefully accept help when it’s offered. And when everything is going right, it’s my purpose to live in that freedom and happiness without making myself feel guilty for it.

Grace is what has been missing from my life. And that’s what I finally understand. With grace I am able to take a breath before I react and calmly, successfully navigate anything life throws at me. With grace I will stay at peace in the uncertainty.

Over a decade spent trying to find myself summed up in 40 days. Ha!

Ha! Seriously…

… this is today’s horoscope:

Is there a whole lotta shakin’ going on? Well, that’s no surprise, especially since you’ve seen fit to start making some big changes in your life. Initially, things might seem crazier or more unsettled, but you just have to hold on past these disruptions. All change is stressful — even change for the better. You may be revamping old patterns or foundations that had been in place for a very long time. Stay calm and it will get better soon.

And the fortune cookie inside the plain steamed chicken Chinese food I got for my dog who will eat nothing else (poor sicky pants!) says I will win success in whatever I attempt.

And with that, two more days seems like nothing.

Ego and fear will never go away entirely but if we put our hearts into it we get to say Fuck You! and try something else.

(Sorry I swear so much.)

New Fears Are Creeping In

Yesterday I sipped on sips of soup and smoothie just to see what it was like. My mouth believed it to be glorious. My stomach disagreed. For hours it cried foul, moaning a long laborious Fuuuuuuuuuck Yooooooooouuuuu. Today I repeated the behavior to see if I fared better. Stomach did, brain didn’t.

Those few gulps of sustenance opened the floodgates to a whole new set of fears. They moved in quickly, trying to take up residency in my heart. They whisper of failure because I had the gall to take a sip of something other than juice. Loser! They chide me with barbs aimed at my lifelong struggles with moderation and forgiveness.  What if I fail right out of the gate, regain all the weight and go back to being bloated and frustrated? Don’t worry, they say, just give up and eat! You know you want to. No one would know anyway. Just do it.

They sound like those immature bastards at parties who always convince you to have one more shot of tequila.

I’m really good at going balls out and I’m really good at absolute restraint. It’s all that livin’ in between stuff that I find so complicated. In my youth I believed my extremist tendencies set me apart, made me interesting and, let’s face it, better than everyone else. As I got older they became more difficult to maintain until I reached a magical point of no longer finding them helpful and a true desire to explore moderation. But giving them up was no easy picnic. (And really, did i? I’m pretty sure I’m still in the midst of a 40 day fast for crying out loud.)

Moderation is something I’ve really had to work on. I always find a thing, a food, a drink, a person, a feeling, whatever and focus an inordinate amount of my attention on it. I feel empty without it. Sometimes it’s necessary focus; often it’s borderline OCD. Inside my head I engage in epic warfare over whether I should commit to my resolve or let myself off the hook, but if I’m lenient with myself I have to deal with forgiveness and be sure to not get lazy in the future and what if and who’s right and on and on. Exhausting.

Life shouldn’t be a constant struggle. It’s only a struggle when we let our ego cloud us and talk louder than what’s underneath.

That’s what’s going on right now. Eat, Eat, Eat, Eat, Eat is just about all I can hear in there. Yet more than ever I’m aware of the little consistent voice under it saying Drink, Drink, Drink, Drink, Drink. My heart is honestly still telling me to finish. It’s still whispering We don’t know what’s going to happen.

So I think about Bono singing Don’t let the bastards grind you down in my favorite U2 song Acrobat. I think about yesterday’s horoscope and my friend’s thoughtful comment. Most of all I think about the Tao:

People often fail when they are on the verge of success.

So pay as much attention to the end as you did to the beginning.

I stand here in my kitchen on this 38th day, making yet another batch of this godforsaken lemonade. I hereby reaffirm my resolve to see this through to the end and raise my glass to Lao Tsu. No more soup. No more smoothies. Just juice and lemonade.

Thanks for everything you’ve taught me. This one’s for you, man.

The Come Down

What is this sense of let down I’m feeling today? Is it the onset of the Portland rains? My dog being sick? Slow sales at the cart? Is it something simple or is it larger than that?

I’m disappointed about my leg hurting again and considering my plans to get x-rays and see doctors. Doctors feel like defeat, as if something I worked really hard for is dying in front of me.

It could be that I’m mellow because I’m low energy because I’ve been drinking less lemonade because I’m giving up because I haven’t been sleeping well because I’m letting my disappointment creep in and take over.

Today’s horoscope helps me re-think it all:

More often than not, emotional situations don’t work out the way they should — like they do in the movies, that is — but now, thanks to something that happened recently under highly unusual circumstances, a magical ending could actually be on the agenda. Your job is to refuse to make an opera out of anything that could ruin that happy ending — anything you might be tempted to get involved with that isn’t worth the effort. Do your part. Dreams do come true.

So what’s my part? Is it still to keep shutting up and keep drinking lemonade? I mean it’s only three more days.  And while we’re at it what’s my dream? Oh yah, peace in the uncertainty.

So many questions today and very few answers. Tonight I choose to sleep on it.

The Purging Process Has Slowed

First this was a process of removal, of purging. As I near the end I’m starting to think about the beginning of the next process, deciding what I want to bring back.

It’s hard to believe I’m so close. When I started this it felt like a completely daunting, almost unattainable goal. Now that it’s almost done it seems kind of small. I’m already feeling my focus switch to my business and National Novel Writing Month which begins next Monday. I’m certainly a taskmaster at heart. How I love checklists!

Hopefully this means I’ll coast through this last week. Friday will officially mark forty days. I’ll break the fast on Saturday with soup and solid fruit, then be back to normal by Sunday. Oh but normal is going to prove to be quite different, isn’t it? I can’t wait! Mostly I’m excited to eat smaller portions of better food and lose the general feeling of being bloated that I had come to accept.

This has been a huge process of redefining for me. It confirmed everything I already liked about myself and my life and showed me how easily I can discard or shift the things I don’t. Naturally there are things in life we can do nothing about because they don’t really have anything to do with us. I think I’ve learned a lot about how to better deal with, handle and accept those things.

Keeping it mellow tonight, lots of work for the cart to attend to…